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Christopher Knight

Email Newsletters vs. Email Autoresponders vs. Hybrids
By Christopher Knight

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Email autoresponders have a specific purpose -- having very little to do with email newsletters -- yet that does not stop oodles of people from trying to make their email autoresponder provider or software to serve up their email newsletter. Confidence is at risk.

Your future subscribers usually already have a sense as to what they are going to receive when they sign up for your email newsletter. But, what if you send them a series of timed emails based on their subscription? In other words, telling them that they are signing up for your newsletter and then sending them a timed series of autoresponder responses. This is a formula to create a bad first impression, resentment, and lost trust.

Let's set this straight:

Email newsletters: When a person subscribes to an email newsletter or announcement list, they should receive a confirmation email and a welcome message. Following that, they will then receive the content from your newsletter in the frequency that you offered.

Email Autoresponders: When a person gives their email address up to receive specific content from an autoresponder, they expect to receive one, two, or a small series of emails from the source --but they do not expect to receive a regular scheduled email newsletter or periodic emails that continue on for years.

Key Ezine Tip For Today:
Set the expectations up front and never deceive your current and future audience. If you intend to send a series of autoresponses based on their subscription - tell them what to expect to receive.

What about Hybrids?
What if you want to send a series of emails to your new subscriber AND send them a regular scheduled or periodic newsletter? No problems -- but do not fail to tell them up-front what you intend to offer and then make sure your deliver on the expectations.

If you setup two service providers or software applications to manage your hybrid setup, make sure that if a person asks to unsubscribe from either the autoresponder or any email newsletter posts -- that they are able to be removed in totality from your service. It must not be the responsibility of your email list member to have to unsubscribe twice from your service as they only subscribed once.

Autoresponders are a great way to add additional value to your audience, save time, educate, send price lists, product or service catalogs, and reports -- as long as the expectations are set upfront.

One very inappropriate way to use an autoresponder hybrid:
Negative opt in. This is where you have your email list set to SINGLE OPT-IN, but then you send a series of autoresponder messages giving them the ability to opt-out because you feel guilty for not confirming them via the double or confirm opt-in method in the first place. It is also not ok to add people to your list if they didn't ask to be on it - and sending a series of autoresponder replies giving them an opt-out option does not wipe your sins.

If you've used autoresponders in a unique way relating to an email newsletter, tell me about it and I'll share your insights in a future Ezine-Tips issue. Send your thoughts to:

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for June 17, 2004

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